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A unique prototype from Lotus, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and ultimately the basis for a Subaru. However, there is a 'but' ...
In the mid-80s, Lotus Excel is on its last legs and Lotus thinks it's time for a new, "affordable" sports car. After a failed project based on a Toyota engine, Lotus enters into a partnership with GM. For their new sports car they are allowed to use every engine of the group and Lotus ultimately opts for the compact 1.6 and associated transmission from Isuzu. So a front-wheel drive.
Three parties are commissioned to present a 1: 1 model of their vision of a sports car with this powertrain, codenamed M100: Lotus' own design team, General Motors and Italdesign. The latter was allowed to sign two years earlier for a possible Esprit successor. Ultimately, the design of Lotus' own Peter Stevens, the Elan as we now know it, is chosen unanimously. The full scale mock-ups of GM and Giugiaro’s Italdesign disappear into oblivion. They have only been shown to management internally and have therefore never shown off at car shows.
Since almost no one had seen the design of Italdesign, the design studio used the basis for another car. Those who compare the Subaru SVX with this study model for Lotus will have to admit that the similarities are more accidental. So it is not only a unique piece for the Lotus enthusiast, but also a special relic for the die-hard Subaru fan.
Such study models often disappear into a store, preserved for a future exhibition in the factory museum or simply as tangible proof of their own history. However, as a small brand, Lotus does not have large sheds such as Renault, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche, and everything that produced money was simply sold. This is also the case with this Italdesign model.
And so it can happen that you can become the owner of this unique piece of car history for only 6500 euros. Although the car is really large, you can't do much more with it than looking at it. The car is completely made of wood, fiberglass and filler, placed on a simple metal frame with non-steering axles. Since the model was for single use, people did not take the trouble to protect the car against the test of time. The frame is also quite rusty, the cracks fall in the body and the woodwork starts to rot. Preserving this vehicle for the future probably costs more than the initial purchase price and then it suddenly becomes a hefty amount of money for a large-scale model car. Anyone who still dares can go to the Belgian Oldtimerfarm.